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director

Q & A with Kelly Slate of PushPULL Dance

I think what’s important with the performing arts is recognizing that creativity and artistic expression are not things limited only to those who pursue them professionally.

In our previous Q & A, Joel Ivany from Against the Grain Theatre spoke about the importance of making art accessible to anyone as the arts are for everyone. Today’s Q & A features Kelly Slate, one half of the founding members of PushPULL Dance Inc., a company that embodies this very notion.

Photo credit: Raph Nogal (http://raphnogal.com/)

Read about what drove Kelly and co-founder Rebecca Ho (who will be featured in a future post in the coming weeks) to create PushPULL Dance, which, beyond the company, is a close community of non-professional dancers from all walks of life, who meet to choreograph dances, create shows, and perform simply for the love of the art. Check out their upcoming show Wish You Were Here, and you might find yourself affected by, and infected with, the joy and passion in the dancers’ performances.

Read on…

Q & A with Against the Grain Theatre’s Joel Ivany

There is something about telling stories that is timeless.  Whether it’s a play, a musical or an opera, we are sharing in the telling of a great story.  We (hopefully) slip away from all the things pressing on our minds and enter into something new and different, which then (again, hopefully) stirs something in us afterwards and makes us think.

In the second part of our two-part Q & A with Against the Grain Theatre, founder and artistic director Joel Ivany shares with us his passion for storytelling through theatre and for making opera accessible, as well as some particular challenges of the art form.

If you haven’t checked out their work yet, may we suggest catching an hour-long sneak preview of the theatre’s upcoming production, Figaro’s Wedding, taking place today (May 16) at 12 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts? It’s part of the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series, featuring our friends Edwin Huizinga and Carol Gimbel of Music in the Barns. And yes, it’s free!

In the meantime, this promotional video captures the spirit of their production in off-the-cuff, reality TV style as the camera follows Figaro on his way to propose to his beloved.

Read part 2 of the Q & A.

Q & A with Festival of Dance Director Melanie Mastronardi

One of the main goals that I have as director of FoD is to build a strong sense of community between the dance groups at U of T, because I think the best way to build support for the dance community is to reach out to people who already share the same passion.

Are you a dancer or part of a dance group? Looking for a place to promote your work, perhaps an opportunity to network with other dancers? Submit your dance piece of any genre and style to the U of T Festival of Dance for a chance to shine, to connect, to celebrate the diversity of the University of Toronto’s dance community. They are accepting audition applications for this year’s festival until February 15.

In this Q & A with the festival’s director, Melanie Mastronardi, who is a dancer but also a PhD candidate at University of Toronto’s chemistry department, she shares with us her experience building a strong dance communities and developing new audiences. Read on…

Q & A with Sarah Thorpe and Pratik Gandhi of Soup Can Theatre

As any independent artist knows, it takes a lot of time, effort, discipline, and sacrifice to live this kind of life. But I keep at it because when a project comes together beautifully and successfully, it’s worth everything I’ve gone through to make it happen.

Sarah Thorpe, artistic director of Soup Can Theatre

Toronto-based Soup Can Theatre provides reinterpretations of older theatrical works as a way to explore contemporary issues for a contemporary audience. In the company’s upcoming double feature of one-act pieces, Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge and Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit, characters in dysfunctional, even hellish relationships are trapped in the same space for the span of a game of bridge and for all eternity, respectively.

It’s a thought-provoking theme, and fortunately one that is not reflected in the theatre company’s mutually supportive environment. Quite the opposite in fact, as artistic director Sarah Thorpe and music director Pratik Gandhi can attest. Check out this Q & A double-bill as the two team up to share their experiences, perspectives, and advice.  And be sure to catch their Valentine’s themed cabaret fundraiser on February 12!

Read on…

Q & A with Theatre Director Emily Dix

I’ve heard a lot of people say that you should always be questioning what you’re doing and be worried you’re not good enough—I think that’s really bizarre advice. You need confidence to pull off a show, and when you’re directing, if you’re not confident in your actors and your own ability, others will see that and your show will fail.

“Why do you suspect me?” Anne Shepherd as Sister Aloysius, Jordan Gray as Father Flynn. Photo credit: Danielle Son

Being the artistic director of a small theatre company, Bygone Theatre’s Emily Dix has had to play multiple roles, among which directing is her favourite. In this Q & A, she reveals some of her thoughts on what it means to be a director and what it takes for a small company to put on a play. Read on…

Q & A with Cellist and Educator Judith Manger

There is an emphasis on natural ability in the arts, and I think access to opportunity is often overlooked. … What fosters a successful musician is much greater and more complex than just natural talent. A young person needs the opportunity to develop his or her talent, focus and dedication, and a support network.

Cellist Judith Manger founded Axis Music, a free music program for children and youth in a Scarborough community, as a way to help promote equal access to music education and opportunities. Read about her thoughts on the importance of such access to the success of future musicians. Read on…

Q & A with Director-Actor Victoria Urquhart

We are emerging artists; we are hungry and excited to learn and grow; and we can satisfy that hunger by using our talents and opening up our learning experiences to benefit others too.

Victoria Urquhart is the founder of Spur-of-the-Moment Shakespeare Collective, and also our 100th follower on Twitter. (Thanks to everyone for their support!) To celebrate this milestone, they are our featured performing artists in a Q & A that underscores the common challenges faced by emerging talents regardless of artistic boundaries. Read on…

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